One of the greatest movies ever made was released in June of 1984. Produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Chris Columbus, and starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and an adorable furry puppet, Gremlins is still amazing to watch. With merchandising – including a Hardee’s deal with the story in a series of 5 books on 45 (yes, records), coloring books, school supplies, Colorform playsets and more – the film became a massive hit with children despite its violent and terrifying antagonists. In 1989, an over the top sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, was released.
More than likely, you’ve seen both movies and you’ve been dying to own them on Blu-ray. You’re in luck! They are both now available, with an ample amount of special features. The quality and sound are on both are not perfect, but for their age, they are pretty damn nice.
Gremlins is a wildly original roller-coaster ride of hilarious mischief. One minute your hair will stand on end, the next you’ll hold your sides with laughter at the havoc these supposedly gentle fur-balls create when the rules surrounding their care and feeding are inadvertently broken one fateful Christmas. Written by Chris Columbus and directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins unleashes special effects that dazzle and enchant and merriment that lingers in the memory.
Gremlins Special Features:
Behind the Scenes includes candid interviews with the cast and crew – including Steven Spielberg. It is a short piece but definitely shows some great set shots, back stories and more.
The commentary track with director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell, and special effects artist Chris Walas brings up the fact that Gremlins was originally not supposed to be a children’s film. It is definitely worth listening to if you are a fan and is incredibly insightful. However, they talk about a ton of extra footage and behind-the-scenes bits that were shot that are not included; perhaps the footage no longer exists. The other track is Joe Dante with Phoebe Cates, Zach Galligan and, of course, Gizmo himself – Howie Mandel.
Additional Features include over 10 minutes of extra footage – some of which is quite entertaining. Two trailers for the original are included on the disc. The trailer for the re-release will bring back memories to those who remember seeing the film more than once in the theatre. The trailer for the sequel – outlined further below on the Gremlins 2 disc – is also included.
Gremlins 2 Special Features:
The Making of Featurette is very cheese-ball and is presented in VHS quality. Much like the film, the documentary treats the gremlins themselves as real people, er, things by stating that they’re stalling production and causing general chaos. If you can appreciate the humor, you’ll dig it.
Cut scenes are entertaining, especially with commentary, though Joe Dante repeatedly states he doesn’t know why most scenes were cut. The first half are somewhat uneventful and removed due to length more than likely. Some are actually really great and it would’ve been neat to have an optional cut with the scenes added back in.
The Gag Reel starts off comically with one of the test lab monkeys scared to escape her cage due the gremlin puppet opening its door. Continuing for several minutes, repetitive hilarity ensues. Also included is the Alternate Home Video sequence. In the original film, the gremlins take over the projection booth – in this, they take over the VHS tape.
The best part of the special features may be the trailer. Years ago, there was no internet. So, seeing a trailer like this in the theatre was an amazing surprise. If you were one of the many children who freaked out when you original saw it, you can feel that happy rush once again!
Both discs: 8/10
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